Browse results

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 42 items for :

  • Performing Arts x
  • Art History x
  • English & Anglophone x
  • Primary Language: English x
Clear All

Series:

David Marcia

Abstract

This essay deals with Albee’s depiction of the performance of marriage in four plays: All Over, The Lady from Dubuque, Counting the Ways, and Marriage Play, with the overarching intent of also exploring how Albee uses various interpretations of the performance of marriage to emotionally impact an audience and convey thematic content. Throughout Albee’s work, the human experiences of fidelity (and perhaps even more importantly the betrayal of fidelity), death, and loss are evoked before a constantly shifting audience or audiences. This imparts a resonance beyond the confluence of character, plot, and spectacle, creating a sense of parabolic ritual wherein allusion, the brute force of language, and the emotion it engenders, overwhelms, disorients, and distresses its audience. The performance of marriage also resonates beyond the mere institution and out into society in general, where we see that the very same issues that eat away at committed relationships similarly erode the nature of civilized enlightenment.

Series:

Mary Ann Barfield

Abstract

In studies of Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? critics have had much to say about the gendered role-reversals between George and Martha. Little scholarly attention, however, has been paid to the gendered methods by which Martha uses her body, within these gendered performances, to access agency. In an historical spacing in which feminine agency could only be accessed through a bodied identity of motherhood, Martha hardly shies away from elaborate performances of physical power—whether masculine or feminine. Reading Albee’s text alongside Toril Moi’s What is a Woman? Martha’s body surfaces as a textual spacing all her own, by which she persistently negotiates gendered power, countering the pronatalist narrative in which her infertility ought to have rendered her body powerless. Her bodied alterity, then, permits her a spacing for a subjectivity sanctioned by both sometimes masculine and feminine performance.

Series:

John M. Clum

Abstract

Through discussion of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The American Dream, The Sandbox, A Delicate Balance, and The Goat, this essay explores ways in which the sons in Albee’s plays, many dead before the play begins, are martyrs to the home and society in which they were reared, to an unworkable gender order, and to distorted versions of the family romance. The sons are often gay, which one or both of the parents despise.

Series:

Emeline Jouve

Abstract

“A symbol of the absolute need to escape the self,” sexuality is dramatized as the symptom of social failure in Albee’s The American Dream. The play, as the chapter shows, stages the dismembering of the family and thus, metaphorically, of the nation which, in this “Society of the Spectacle,” is deprived of any moral sense. By playing around with the traditional sexual and gender patterns, Albee parodies the comic genre and its conventional happy ending of the reconstruction of the family unit.

Series:

Valentine Vasak

Abstract

This study will focus on scenes of sexual give-and-take in Edward Albee’s later works in order to highlight how sexuality partakes in the exchange process at the heart of the monogamous heterosexual relationship. This paper seeks to underscore the ontological instability created by the commodification of sexual desire and to determine whether the plays written by Albee in the 1970s and later—contemporarily with major texts of third wave feminism and queer studies—suggest a renewed approach to sexuality and gender politics. Thus, I wish to address the ways in which Edward Albee depicts sexual exchange as a flawed commodity, a dysfunctional currency that pales in comparison with the pleasure and enjoyment derived from linguistic exchanges and verbal thrusts.

Series:

John M. Clum and Cormac O’Brien

The essays in this volume focus on gender, sexualities, and sex in Edward Albee’s plays. By sex we mean not the male/female biological binary but the act of and the politics of sex. The majority of essays collected in this volume focus on some aspect of gender politics in Albee’s plays, the conflict between men and women that is enacted in the domestic spaces that serve as the playwright’s favored setting.

Series:

T. Ross Leasure

Abstract

The modus operandi of Jerry in Albee’s The Zoo Story reveals itself in the New York City sites the character references pertaining to his perambulations in that each corresponds to a location associated with semi-public homosexual assignations. A study of the demographic and historical contexts of Albee’s deployment of the “gay geography” of the City in the late 50s, including specific parks and the grindhouses of 42nd Street, among other locales, indicates that Jerry, whether out of psychological or financial desperation, is cruising for sex that takes him on a quest from his apartment on the Upper West Side of Central Park eventually to the bench where he encounters Peter, the target of Jerry’s botched homosexual trick that turns into an assisted suicide. Whether Jerry is a hustler on the make or just a lonely victim of the repressive closet, the consummation he seeks along his circuitous route can only ultimately be achieved, he thinks, through a redemptive act of self-slaughter that masquerades as gay cruising.

Series:

Donald E. Pease

Abstract

In Malcolm, Sexual Politics, Edward Albee’s Adaptations, I situate Edward Albee’s Malcolm within the context of the criticism that the novelist Philip Roth and the theatre critics Stanley Kaufmann and Robert Brustein mounted against Edward Albee’s theatrical representations of homosexuality and masculinity. I argue that the characters and behaviors depicted in Malcolm are intended in part to undermine the categories of sexuality and sexual identity that Brustein and Kaufmann have projected onto the play. I also show how Albee’s adaptation of Purdy’s Malcolm to this subversive purpose effaced a crucial aspect of Purdy’s vision.

Series:

Andrew Darr

Abstract

This essay analyzes Edward Albee’s 2004 revision of his breakout one-act play, “The Zoo Story.” Albee’s decision to update the forty-five-year-old play to accommodate the addition of a prequel act, “Homelife,” disrupted the play’s historical connection to its 1950 setting in New York’s Central Park and problematized Jerry and Peter’s relationship. Alternatively, the full-length production At Home at the Zoo presents an opportunity to examine Albee’s meditation on masculinity and marriage at both the start and conclusion of his theatrical career. For better and worse, Albee decided to revisit his original masterpiece, which both complicated the play’s historical setting and expanded on Albee’s treatment of masculinity through the expanded character of Peter.

Series:

Araceli González Crespán

Abstract

The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? attests to the vitality and pertinence of the author’s theatrical vision in a critical dissection of American society at the turn of the century. By choosing a well-to-do, liberal milieu and a supposedly ideal family, the author poses uncomfortable questions and upturns what we tend to take for granted. Martin, as a tragic modern hero, powerfully interpellates long-debated notions of masculinity and femininity. My proposal in this article is to analyze the construction of the male individual and the questioning of the given roles he has so adeptly played until now: those of lover and husband, father, friend, and professional. In a moment when masculinity is searching for new meanings and functions, Martin’s tragic flaw surfaces in the mirror of social convention and shatters a seemingly perfect life after he has chosen a new, untrodden way, guided, if we are to trust him, not by sexual drive but by the discovery of a new form of love embodied by Sylvia.